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Basketball - 28. September 2013.

MOZ - Turkey 2014 not so far from Mozambique

MAPUTO (AfroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Mozambique are yet to compete in the FIBA World Championship for Women, but they have never been so close to doing so.

In fact, they are at least 40 minutes away from safe-guarding their place in the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey.

But first they must maintain their unbeaten record against Cameroon at AfroBasket Women 2013 in Saturday's first Semi-Final.

Mozambique miraculously reached the Semis in Maputo as Leia Dongue hit a three-pointer with two seconds remaining to help the home side deny Nigeria 77-74 in Friday's Quarter-Finals..

Although Nasir Sale's team remain in title contention, Nigeria gave them a very tough test.

Mozambique trailed 74-71 with 35 seconds remaining when Valerdina Manhonga rescued them with a three-pointer that tied the game at 74-74, before Dongue crushed Nigeria's hopes.

Although Mozambique showed some nervousness, they have reason to remain confident after winning six games, including one against title contenders and fellow Semi-Finalists Senegal.

For Clarisse Machanguana - who has been extremely instrumental for the tournament hosts - Mozambique are the ones to blame for the suffering against Nigeria.

"We missed some easy baskets, allowing them to grow in confidence. This is how basketball works," she said.

"Making (it) to the Semis means a lot to us because we want to win the championship badly.

"In the waning seconds of the game, I thought, instead of retiring from basketball at the age of 40, I was going to have a heart attack.

"This was an awakening moment for us. We must keep our feet on the ground because this competition is very, very tough.

"If there has been any pressure, it came from us, not from the fans who have been extremely supportive.

"Of course we felt the weight of the responsibility."

This is Mozambique's third Semi-Final appearance since 2003 when they last hosted the tournament.

For full and in-depth coverage of AfroBasket Women 2013, go to the official website http://maputo2013.fibaafrica.com.


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